Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Cambodia, Thailand agree to survey border markers pillars by yearend

By Puy Kea
SIEM REAP, Cambodia , Nov. 11 KYODO
Cambodia and Thailand agreed Tuesday to conduct a joint field survey of border markers placed along the two countries' land boundary more than a century ago. Var Kimhong, chairman of Cambodian National Border Commission, told reporters after a meeting with his Thai counterpart that the two sides agreed to conduct the joint survey work by the end of the year. He said the joint survey of 73 old pillars would be followed by a survey of other boundary pillars, especially in a hotly disputed area near Cambodia 's ancient temple of Preah Vihear . Var Kimhong made the statement after a nine-hour meeting with his Thai counterpart Vasin Teeravechyan in Cambodia 's northern province of Siem Reap. He said that despite some progress achieved in the meeting, many issues remain to be solved such as those relating to military redeployment and topographical, technical and legal matters. The area around Preah Vihear Temple , which was inscribed as World Heritage Site on July 7, has in recent months been the scene of a tense standoff between the two sides' militaries, which twice last month erupted in fighting that left dead and injured on both sides. Since then, numerous meetings have been held at various levels, including foreign ministers and prime ministers, but the dispute remains unresolved with Cambodia insisting Thai troops remain on its soil and Thailand saying its troops are only in the disputed zone. The territorial dispute stems partly from the use of different border maps.
Cambodia has been using the 7 maps as agreed upon by France and Siam ( Thailand ) in 1904 and 1907 and the judgment of the International Court of Justice in 1962, but Thailand insists to use its unilaterally drawn map with the U.S. assistance in late 1960s and early 1970s.
KyodoNovember 11, 2008

Millions gather in Phnom Penh for annual Mekong boat race

Cambodia's water festival, a three-day annual event featuring boat races on the Mekong River, kicked off Tuesday with an estimated 2 million people flocking from the countryside into the capital Phnom Penh. Chea Kean, deputy secretary general of the National and International Festival Committee that gave the estimate, said 424 boats with 26,000 boat racers from across the country are taking part in the races, held to recall Cambodia 's long history of repelling invaders using boats. Many boats participating in the race are named after top government officials, with Prime Minister Hun Sen's name being the dominant one every year. King Norodom Sihamoni presides over the races, which are attended by the foreign diplomatic corps and government leaders, including the prime minister. The 1,700-meter race course is located just in front of the Royal Palace on the Mekong River in the capital.
KyodoNovember 11, 2008